Stretching is an important part of any physical activity. During the cold winter months, this is especially true. So, why is it important to stretch during winter? The colder temps can cause joints and muscles to stay tight and even lose some of their heat. This can lead to muscle spasms and cramps. To prevent this, you need to pay special attention to stretching practices during the winter.
Benefits of Stretching During Winter Season
Stretching is essential to proper muscle and joint function. You might wonder, "Is it important to stretch during cold weather?" Muscles will contract when they are not properly stretched every day. Before and after physical activity, the muscles need more stretching to avoid cramps. A common question is, "Can I get injured from not stretching during the cold season?" You can possibly be injured, so always stretch first.
Regular stretching will also increase the range of motion of the joints and the muscles. If you struggle with mobility issues, regular, gentle stretching can help you improve mobility over time.
It is highly recommended to stay active during the winter months to stay healthy and to avoid winter weight gain. There are some extra steps you might need to take though to get a good, healthy workout during those colder days.
Warming up is always important before physical exertion, but if it is really cold you might need a little more warming up than usual.
Trainers recommend a 10-minute warm-up if the temps are between 35 and 45 degrees F. If temps are lower than 35, then you should add 5 more minutes of warm-up time for every ten degrees lower. If, after your initial warm-up, your muscles still feel tight, go ahead and warm up for a little longer. It can’t hurt.
Movement Before Stretching
There is a long-standing debate over whether you should stretch before or after your workout. Today, most people practice stretching before and after. However, it can be painful and ineffective to stretch really cold muscles. So, a solution is to move around gently before you stretch. This brings more blood flowing into the muscles and joints, which will slowly start to warm them up. Warm muscles stretch more easily.
Practice Active Stretching
Now that your blood is flowing, keep the movement coming with active stretches. Active stretches include activities such as jumping jacks, jump rope or lunges.
Keep It Loose
While you are working out, make sure your blood stays flowing at all times. When it is very cold outside you will start to lose your warm up even after you stop moving for a short amount of time. If you must pause for a stoplight or something similar, continue to jog in place to keep muscles warm.
Hydrate As Always
Just because it is cold outside doesn’t mean hydration is any less important. Your body will dehydrate just as quickly during the cold winter months as it will during the hot, sweaty summer months. Keep drinking water.
Don’t Forget the Cool Down
You might think that a cool-down isn’t important in the winter, but it is just as important during a winter workout. The cool-down gives your heart and lungs the opportunity to slowly return to a normal rate. This can be very important for heart health.
Categorised in: Fitness Center
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